If your heart is in voice work or audiobook narration and this is the career you’re hoping to pursue, there are a number of essential skills to master.  Here’s what Backstage says is a must.

First, you’ll need to work on articulating your words – really articulating them.  Rarely in everyday conversation does anyone take the time to speak one-hundred perfect clearly and with emphasis given on certain words.  This isn’t something that one typically even thinks about.  However, with voice work, it’s a skill that needs to always be on the actor’s mind.

When working on articulation, it’s important that lisping or whistling certain sounds be eliminated as much as possible.  This is typically heard when annunciating “C” or “S”.  The focus needs to be on the words rather than on the way the mouth moves.  This is something that practice can perfect.

Breathing also needs to be controlled so you don’t run out of breath before finishing a line or gasp too loudly between sentences.  Swallowing, or gulping both need to be avoided and the volume of your voice needs to be steadied.  When you’re reciting lines, you also won’t be able to clear your throat in between.  There needs to be minimal editing when the product is complete.

Line delivery is all about…well, delivery.  You must understand the script and your role and deliver accordingly.  The message in your speech needs to be consistent with the product’s overall intention.  You’ll need to provide the proper amount of enthusiasm and energy the lines require and ensure your timing is on point.  You don’t want a listener to lose interest because the speech was too monotone, but you also don’t want to be so excited that your speech comes across as unauthentic.

From the first day of recording to the last, you’ll want to make sure you are consistent in the way you are portraying the character or characters you’re delivering so they are believable.  This means you really have to understand what is expected from you in delivering each role and what the audience will be looking for.  Because your audience won’t see the body movements or gestures you make when you’re reciting the lines, the lines themselves have to give them a clear vision of what is happening.  Bring each character to life by giving them each a unique tone of voice, personality and attitude, and dialect or accent.  Make sure your choices match their descriptions.

Voice acting includes much more technique than what at first meets the eye.  It’s important to master your craft by constantly practicing it and attending classes and workshops as necessary.  At the end of the day, you will get out what you put in!

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